New EU project secures funding to develop biodegradable fishing gear
Marine South East is a partner in a new EU Interreg co-funded project to develop prototype biodegradable fishing gear. INdiGO (INnovative fishing Gear for Ocean) will run until 2023 with an total budget of Euro4.2M.
Fishing gear is estimated to represent 27% of marine litter with more than 26,000 km of gear lost in the English Channel area each year. With an estimated lifetime of several hundreds of year, the impacts on marine wildlife can be devastating. The persistence of lost and discarded fishing gear in the environment could be reduced by the use of biodegradable equipment with a controlled life span, however there is currently a lack of such products for use in the fishing and aquaculture sectors.
Led by the University of South Brittany, the INdIGO project will reduce long-lasting plastic waste in the Channel area through the development of biodegradable fishing gear, as well as improving habitat quality and maintaining biodiversity.
Six research organisations (Universities of South Brittany, Plymouth and Portsmouth, IFREMER, CEFAS and SMEL) and four private partners (NaturePlast, Filt, IRMA and Marine South East) are collaborating in the development of prototype biodegradable fishing gear leading to subsequent adoption by the commercial fishing industry.
The project will also work to improve the prevention and management of pollution generated during manufacture and develop an application to locate fishing gear that is already lost.
The INdiGO project covers all aspects of net development including the supply chain, manufacturing, prototype development, testing and technical and economic analysis.
Progress and outcomes will be communicated to end-users, manufacturers, the scientific community, public authorities and the general public to raise awareness about the impacts of discarded fishing gear on our marine ecosystems and the solutions being developed by INdIGO.